Transmission Electron Microscopy

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transmission electron microscope (TEM) transmits a beam of electrons through an ultrathin sample to produce an image.  TEMs are able to image at higher resolution than light microscopes, allowing them to capture detail down at the atomic level.  An additional technique, known as scanning TEM (STEM), rasters the electron beam, allowing it to be used as an analytical technique for Z-contrast annular dark-field imaging, and spectroscopic mapping by energy dispersive X-ray (EDX) spectroscopy or electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS).  This allows for the correlation of the image and spectroscopic data.  Aberration corrected TEMs achieve higher resolution than conventional TEMs.

Electron tomography (ET) is a tomography technique used to obtain detailed three-dimensional structures of sub-cellular macro-molecular objects.  An electron beam is passed through the sample at incremental degrees of rotation around the centre of the sample.  This information is collected and used to create a three-dimensional image of the sample.

Depending on microscope, a range of imaging environments and holders can be used. ICAM equipment includes:

  • FEI Titan G2 80-200KV S/TEM ChemiSTEM at The University of Manchester can be operated with a range of in-situ holders including gas environmental cell, liquid heating/electrochemistry and heating/electrical holders.
  • Hitachi H-9500 Dynamic Environmental TEM at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign is capable of windowless environmental conditions up to ~0.1 Pa at the sample and also features a gas injection heating holder (to 1500°C), and a Hummingbird liquid electrochemistry cell holder.
  • High tilt (up to +/- 80 degrees) imaging at Cambridge, Manchester and Illinois is also available to enable TEM tomography.
  • Mechanical testing using Hysitron P195 in-situ TEM Picoindenter at the University of Illinois enables simultaneous imaging of the mechanical response of nanoscale materials and acquisition of quantitative mechanical data.

A number of aberration corrected TEMs are also available at ICAM and include:

  • FEI Titan Krios Transmission Electron Microscope at the University of Cambridge.
  • FEI Themis Z Advanced Probe Aberration Corrected Analytical TEM/STEM at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
  • Titan 80/300 TEM/STEM at Imperial College London.
  • Titan G2 80-200 S/TEM CHEMISTEM at The University of Manchester.


Advanced materials research covers a spectrum of academic fields and disciplines. The scientific publications authored by our researchers showcase some of the ground-breaking work taking place across the ICAM partnership.

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